March 28th, 2004

Cup Coffee

First discussion post on Murakami's book

I'm fully aware its not quite yet the beginning of the month of April, but close enough to start a first post on Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

I found the following quote to have some significance,

A world of immortality? I might actually create a new self. I could become happy, or at least less miserable. And dare I say it, I could become a better person. But that had nothing to do with me now. That would be another self. For now, I was an immutable, historical fact (p. 342).

I wonder why Murakami keeps doesn't share the protagonist's name and tells the story in first person point of view. If you had little choice but to believe that in the next twenty-two hours you were going to die - would you have comfort, be at peace with yourself? What would you do within the time period left? If you were to live an immortal life (this relates to the ego) would you seek betterment of the self and refine the self until you've reached a state close to that of "perfection"?

In pertinence to the title, "the end of the world," I've located all the relevant references to that describing "the end of the world." So without further adieu...

The Gatekeeper lays a giant hand on my back.
'You have to endure. If you endure, everything will be fine. No worry, no suffering. It all disappears. Forget about the shadow. This is the End of the World. This is where the world ends. Nowhere further to go.'

On my way back to my room, I stop in the middle of the Old Bridge and look at the River. I think about what the Gatekeeper has said.
The End of the World.
Why did I cast off my past to come here to the End of the WOrld? What possible event or meaning or purpose could there have been? Why can I not remember
(p. 109)?

My shuffling password was "End of the World." This was the title of a profoundly personal drama by which previously laundered numerics would be reordered for computer calculation. Of course, when I say drama, I don't mean the kind they show on TV. This drama was a lot more complex and with no discernible plot. The word is only a label, for convenience sake. All the same, I was in the dark about its contents. The sole thing I knew was its title, End of the World (p. 112-13).

'I don't get it,' I said. What's it supposed to mean, this end-of-the-world talk? What exactly did he say? Are you sure he didn't say. 'The world is going to be obliterated or
'The world is going to be destroyed'?'
‘No, he said, ‘The world is going to end’.’
More mental regrouping.
‘So then, this...uh...’end of the world’ has something to do with me?’
‘I guess so. Grandfather said you were the key. He started researching all about you a couple years ago.’
‘A couple of years ago!’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing
(p. 176)...

’But there is no escape from here,’ i say. ‘You looked over the map, didn’t you? There is no exit. This is the End of the World.’
‘It may be the End of the World, but it has to have a way out. I know that for certain. Look at the sky. Where do those birds go when they fly over the Wall? To another world. If there was nothing out there, why surround the place with a Wall? It has to let out somewhere
(p. 247).’

Hope those references to “The End of the World” inspires you or helps sorts things out from what the title of the book is referring to. Anything else I missed, add a comment. This is kind of surfacing analyzing of the book, not entirely in-depth analyzing of the book, but a good start.
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